June 8th, 2006
Billie Holiday
About the Singer

Considered by many to be the greatest jazz vocalist of all time, Billie Holiday lived a tempestuous and difficult life. Her singing expressed an incredible depth of emotion that spoke of hard times and injustice as well as triumph. Though her career was relatively short and often erratic, she left behind a body of work as great as any vocalist before or since.

Born Eleanora Fagan in 1915, Billie Holiday spent much of her young life in Baltimore, Maryland. Raised primarily by her mother, Holiday had only a tenuous connection with her father, who was a jazz guitarist in Fletcher Henderson’s band. Living in extreme poverty, Holiday dropped out of school in the fifth grade and found a job running errands in a brothel. When she was twelve, Holiday moved with her mother to Harlem, where she was eventually arrested for prostitution.

Desperate for money, Holiday looked for work as a dancer at a Harlem speakeasy. When there wasn’t an opening for a dancer, she auditioned as a singer. Long interested in both jazz and blues, Holiday wowed the owner and found herself singing at the popular Pod and Jerry’s Log Cabin. This led to a number of other jobs in Harlem jazz clubs, and by 1933 she had her first major breakthrough. She was only twenty when the well-connected jazz writer and producer John Hammond heard her fill in for a better-known performer. Soon after, he reported that she was the greatest singer he had ever heard. Her bluesy vocal style brought a slow and rough quality to the jazz standards that were often upbeat and light. This combination made for poignant and distinctive renditions of songs that were already standards. By slowing the tone with emotive vocals that reset the timing and rhythm, she added a new dimension to jazz singing.

With Hammond’s support, Holiday spent much of the 1930s working with a range of great jazz musicians, including Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Duke Ellington, Ben Webster, and most importantly, the saxophonist Lester Young. Together, Young and Holiday would create some of the greatest jazz recordings of all time. They were close friends throughout their lives—giving each other their now-famous nicknames of “Lady Day” and the “Prez.” Sympathetic to Holiday’s unique style, Young helped her create music that would best highlight her unconventional talents. With songs like “This Year’s Kisses” and “Mean To Me,” the two composed a perfect collaboration.

It was not, however, until 1939, with her song “Strange Fruit,” that Holiday found her real audience. A deeply powerful song about lynching, “Strange Fruit” was a revelation in its disturbing and emotional condemnation of racism. Holiday’s voice could be both quiet and strong at the same time. Songs such as “God Bless the Child” and “Gloomy Sunday” expressed not only her undeniable talent, but her incredible pain as well. Due to constant racial attacks, Holiday had a difficult time touring and spent much of the 1940s working in New York. While her popularity was growing, Holiday’s personal life remained troubled. Though one of the highest paid performers of the time, much of her income went to pay for her serious drug addictions. Though plagued by health problems, bad relationships, and addiction, Holiday remained an unequaled performer.

By the late 1940s, after the death of her mother, Holiday’s heroin addiction became so bad she was repeatedly arrested— eventually checking herself into an institution in the hopes of breaking her habit. By 1950, the authorities denied her a license to perform in establishments selling alcohol. Though she continued to record and perform afterward, this marked the major turning point in her career. For the next seven years, Holiday would slip deeper into alcoholism and begin to lose control of her once perfect voice. In 1959, after the death of her good friend Lester Young and with almost nothing to her name, Billie Holiday died at the age of forty-four. During her lifetime she had fought racism and sexism, and in the face of great personal difficulties triumphed through a deep artistic spirit. It is a tragedy that only after her death could a society, who had so often held her down, realize that in her voice could be heard the true voice of the times.

  • melvin grier

    I have often wondered that in times of great adversity, there emerge people like Billie Holiday. Blessed with such a voice she had to endure a life that would not allow her to create more flawlessly a greater body of work. But, it seems that the pain of the times and the absence of a quality male in her life, (not Lester Young, her musical partner) might and I say might have made this once beautiful woman fulfilled.
    Even though she died in 1959, my heart bleeds for her.
    Melvin Grier

  • Carol Gatlin

    I just finished watching the Dianna Ross’s version of Billie Holiday, “Lady Sings The Blues”. It was a story that began sad and ended up sad. I have always admired Billie Holiday and her music. I wished that she could have been more into control of her drug addiction, for she, I’m sure, would have become a mega-Superstar! Although her life was cut short, she was the Mega-Superstar of her time. Her records are still selling today. I brought three of them last month for my Evolution of Jazz class. A toast to Outstanding Performer, Billie Holiday.

  • Josefina Alcantara

    i really do get inspired when I read about his women and her struggle through life. she overcame many obstacles, if she was to be alive today she would be a top DOG in the music industry love her work and admire her greatly

  • Bryttnee Wyntun. :)

    Haaha, Im doing a music project on Billie Holiday, Im learning alot from her :)

  • Donnell Greene

    i neva new such a woman like Billie Holiday she was a amazine singer and she lived her life like she wanted to

  • jazmine

    i love this woman

  • danielle

    I LOVE BILLIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • leah

    I love billi holiday!!!!!!!!!!1 she the best!!!

  • samantha

    Im doing a school report/project on billie and she is sooooo amazing.

  • darby :)

    i love billie she rox!

  • Matt

    Billie was a phenomenon. It’s sad realizing that the passion of her music came from the life she lived, without the adversities she had to endure she might not have been the legand she’s beocme. Thanks Ms. Holiday for giving us all a small part of your soul.

  • Crystal

    i am also doing a school report on billie. 6 page essay as a matter of fact…it’s boring so far.

  • Slem

    i’m doing a report too. yay…

  • Haley

    I am doing a history fair on billi, it is in fact NOT boring, she is a very interesting person. And veryyyy pretty.

  • anabel

    Im also doing a project on Billie Holiday and its great!!!

  • neecey

    haha omg is every one here doing a report on billie holiday haha because I AM TOO!!!! <3 =]

  • frenchie

    a fantastic singer. never would have discovered her talent if she didn’t get on stage and try. as she inspires me to greater things, i must be weary of drug addiction, it can afflict any of us. BE careful out there

  • dinger


  • Whitney

    When will they re-air this episode? I love Billie!

  • Haylicious

    Wow, she’s a really inspiring independent women that went through a lot! I am doing a report on her!

  • Mauricio

    Its a tragedy. I just wish I could of seen her. I love her voice. The good do die young.



  • taylor

    she is so good when i first heard her name i thought billie was a boy but then i thought well billie can be a girls name then i heard her WONDERFUL.I HAD 2 DO A PROJECT ON HER FOR MY MUSIC CLASS. I DID NOT KNOW SHE WAS THIS GOOD!

  • katielyn

    I have to do her for black history month. She is amazing!!

  • Courtney

    im doing a project about billie and im learning alot!!:)

  • Kourtney

    I am doing a project on jazz in the 50’s and I am honored to have her part of my project

  • Kathryn

    I think that if Billie Holiday was alive today she could be on american idol.

  • Deleanna Allen

    I love you billie Holiday thats why i picked you as my person for my black history month project. You were the best and my favorite song of your is “I’LL BE SEEIN YOU!” This page has taught me alot about you. :-)

  • De’Ja=)

    this is amazing and she is a good singer………=)

  • Shelia Lackey

    She was one most Jazz Singer’s of all times to me being a woman.She is truly missed in this cold hard world.Music is not the same anymore now, everything is so violent.

  • Nicole

    I’m doing a report on Holiday, she is really great, but her life was not so great, and i’m kind of confused, becuase i dont really understand what is did to have a good influence on african americans, is has to be something, i know its her singing, but what about her singing? i dont know…sigh…

  • Nicole

    ok….now i see. i get it now, my bad…

  • questionable enthusiasm

    im doing a thing about her for school im learning about her and i HAVE LEARNED ALOT!!!

  • onel

    billie is so amazing

  • Amanda Rasmussen

    Billie Holiday. When I hear that name I think to myself”That’s is a name that I am gonna remember”. When Coach Smith told me to pick a name and I picked Billie Holiday,I thought that this was gonna be boring,but it wasn’t. So maybe Billie was a prostitute. Oh well we all do things that we are not proud of. Billie is one of my idols. She is amazing,especially the fact that in her life,she fought racism and sexism. I don’t think that I would have enough courage to do that. Billie also did drugs. A lot of people do. But sadly you died from drinking and doing drugs. If you were alive today,I would be a big fan. I have been doing a lot of research on you Billie.Your my hero.

  • london depriest

    i am doing a project on her to. lol.

  • faith

    i am doing a biography rite now and reading this is just sad. i cant believe she wasted her life on drugs. well, the movie was good “lady sing the blues” yall should watch sum time diana ross played a good role on her.

  • Jessie

    lol im also doing a project on her.

  • Shakayla

    My teacher asked the whole class to pick a black person to do our black history report on an I picked Billie Holiday I think she is so great.

  • shakayla

    thanks for being a great singer.

  • Cheryl Wright

    As an poetic artist, I’m confident she would have given my intense, deep soul rhythm words electric color. My daughter is also born on April 7, what a gift.

  • Ashley Marucitor

    Wow! her life was so tragic but had such a strong impact on other people. when i was assigned her for a report i thought that it would be really biring and stupid, but it really isn’t her life may have been really bad but the things that she did for music today is just amazing and thank you for helping me for my report i really apericate it. kepp up the good work :)

  • bill


  • Anne

    Billie Holiday died on the same day I was born–July 17. The year ceases to matter. Because, though born 6o+ years apart, I believe that her music is as relevant now as it was when she first sang “Strange Fruit” at Cafe Society in 1939. The audience now may not seem as reluctant to be caught listening to such an evocative song but we are just as cautious to face the reality that discrimination, in all forms, coming in all guises, still remains a human flaw that rears it’s ugly head in today’s society. Billie Holiday was a courageous woman of her time. She passionately sang “Strange Fruit” as an ode to people that died in the hands of others, their only crime–being born with skin of the “wrong” color.
    I was blessed to be in a music class where our teacher gave much emphasis and tribute to Billie Holiday and her music, including “Strange Fruit”. As we wrapped up the assignment, she left us with a burning question…”Now that you know this, what are you going to do about it?” I decided to be an advocate. Writing this comment, I know, will reach others who can appreciate Lady Day and her legacy to the rest of the world–her music. If I learned anything important it is this: How a person lives her life is her own. How a person chooses to be remembered is to pay homage to the legacy she left behind–her music.

  • brianna oliver

    wow this girl is the reason why i don’t want to even listen to todays music i love listening to the oldies!!!

  • Yasmine

    im doing a reseach paper on her and i never knew about the struggle she had to go through to be the amazing singer that she is

  • sabrina

    I have a project on Billie and she is very intresting and after i read i was kinda shocked about it and she seems like she a pretty interesting life

  • lillli

    I’m doing my work on my page and i love this singer and i need alot for my work thanx ok? love that wommen:-)

  • grace

    she can really sing

  • ‘marissa sue.

    haha, im doing a report on her !
    & she’s pretty awesome. [ :

  • Christine

    This page is really helping me with my music project, i’m not going to fail! Yay me <3

  • kismery

    i fell so sorry 4 billie holiday but that was my girl

  • shamia (aka mia)

    Billie holiday was a very great person and all the things she had to go throw wiyh out her father being there for her. But she did what she had to. And she’s a wounderful person and i look up to her for that, although she had her problems .lol..

  • Tiffany wright

    her life was pretty interesting

  • keta

    wow!!!!!! i am helping my 7 yo daughter with her project on Billie Hiliday. What an awesome singer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!She was beautiful,talented and had such deep soul and passion… May we remember her forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • JJ1369

    Billie Holiday. When I hear that name I think to myself”That’s is a name that I am gonna remember”. When Coach Smith told me to pick a name and I picked Billie Holiday,I thought that this was gonna be boring,but it wasn’t. So maybe Billie was a prostitute. Oh well we all do things that we are not proud of. Billie is one of my idols. She is amazing,especially the fact that in her life,she fought racism and sexism. I don’t think that I would have enough courage to do that. Billie also did drugs. A lot of people do. But sadly you died from drinking and doing drugs. If you were alive today,I would be a big fan. I have been doing a lot of research on you Billie.Your my hero.

  • honey

    billie is ok not dat fascintin but wondreful i have a report on her

  • zack shaffer

    im doing a project on her she is really interesting to learn about

  • don gillis

    I ve heard her forever…..heard ’strange fruit’ as a teenager in the 60’s,and wept for her…..but it wasnt until i saw her story over tv,maybe a&e, a long time ago, did i realize her voice.

    An icon of of our times; a forerunner of janis joplin, jimi hendtix, james dean,chuck berry,..others… and i wish she could somehow know, within this ’spiritus mundi’, how her suffering added to our life, making it being a better place to be.


  • peepers2

    it’s really sad just knowning that such a wonderful and talented singer/songwriter had to endure so much pain in her life and unforgiving cruelty seen through her eyes only to be able to release it in her songs. i have seen movies and pictures of such happenings,but can we all picture the realism of what she had to live with inside her every moment.a picture is a picture but what she had to live with destroyed a legened,her!



  • ginger

    i”m doing a report on her too she is wonderful i just got done wachin lady sing the blues awsome!!!!!
    p.s read what anne said it was so understanding

  • Destiny Scott

    Billie Holiday inspired me to sing, without her I’m nothing, i love u Billie Holiday!!!!

  • nicole

    she is amazing shes great so much to learn about her

  • billie sharpenski

    billie holliday is my hero!!! we already share the same name and people always think Im a boy before they see me. im doing a report on her for school and she is very interesting to read about. Her voice is also amazing i wish i had a voice like hers. I LOVE YOU BILLIE!!!!!

  • rita moss

    Billie is my idol. My life has not been perfect like billie’s but she still got to be famous and live her dream. i hope to be a famous singer someday. my voice is sort of like hers but a little more angelic. If i cud spend 1 day w/ a dead person id spend it w/ her.

  • Ebony

    Lady Day, man we have so much in common.My life has some of her similarities and like her I have tried to find ways of dealing with what has happened to me. I haven’t made it to drugs as of yet, and I pray I never do. I have read her story several times and thank god I did not go thru as much as she did.But, I am sadden that she had to. I can only wish that she can know the love we all send her as mere mortals waiting for our turn at the gate. Billie, Thank you for the music, your beauty and the lessons we all can learn from such and incredible woman~e

  • Keosha

    Billie Holiday was such an inspiration to me and about everybody reply or writing a comment. i believe to this day Holiday would have a huge impact among the people today because she’s been through so much in her everyday life well growing up, and all the hardships came through her songs. im glad i got to get an insite on her life and her beautiful soul. and also im doing a final project on Billie Holiday, she’s great.

  • laketa


  • sam

    Billie Holiday may have had a hard life but God gave her the gift of song. The love and lessens she gave the world through her songs gives us hope, truth and inspiration to change the world. She live in an era were hated tried to control minds but Billie was a queen withput an army and stood up for the people the world will always have love for compassionate and loving beings. Thanku Lady Day for for shinning your light. People don’t remember the pain stay in the Love just as Lady Day did she knew Love would set us all free. My heart loves you for ever.

  • reshawn brown

    Eveery since I saw the bio with The Great Diana Ross playing Miss Billie Holiday I became curious to know more about the true Billie Holiday and I fell in Love. She was sucjh and amazing person with a big heart for hope and chance but not enough people recoginzed her strength. I would have been glad to see her make now but all artist are praised much less dead then alive; Look at Micheal Jackson he is worth more now then he was alive and even in death he is still talked about but highly praised. I Have Love for them both they meant a lot to me and gave me hope to never give up no matter if you get support or not DREAM BIG AND try your best. For we are to have confidence within ourselves and ourselves alone. GOD BLESS –ONE TRUE FAN

  • m()sa

    I love billi holiday her music life stlye my heeerrooo.along with aaliyah dana hougton

  • melissa raper

    I wish Billie had loved Billie as much as others loved her. Why does so much talent require so much pain?

  • diane

    i feel that Miss Billie Holiday was one of the best jazz singers of her time. what would the jazz world be like had she live. R.I.P. Miss Holiday

  • mikeg

    Though i khew most of what happed i didnt know every piece of info. She sure was a mood of her own i knew about the drugs and poverty, racism wow what a strong women with grate talent that was taken too young. thx for the extra info.

  • Debbie Wilkins

    I love Billie! I relate to her pain, her songs gives me so much inspiration to live. Billie lives within me.

  • alexis gill

    this was tones and very good info. R.I.P Miss.Billie Holiday

  • Casey Z

    I am also doing a project on Billie and her story is so fascinating, even in all its tragedy. I admire her greatly, and her music (to me) is easily relatable. In my bad times, I listen to her and I feel like someone understands :)

  • Bill B.

    When I was 10 years old, I bought by mother Billie Holiday’s album “Lady Sings The Blues.” I wrapped it in birthday paper and my eyes lit up when she opened her gift and asked me to put it on the record player so we could enjoy Miss Billie. I had never heard her sing until then. What an amazing thing for a ten year old to listen and fall in love with those songs Miss Billie sang that day. No singer has ever touched my heart and soul like Billie Holiday. Her life was her life, no judgements entered. Her music said it all. If she does not reach your heart with what she sings, I can only say that you must not have one inside of you. God hold you in his arms Lady Day for the gift you gave.

  • samantha kveton

    three of my classes teachers are having us do a report on one of the jazz greats haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • samantha kveton

    three of my classes teachers are having us do a report on one of the jazz greats ha

  • Michae drayton

    i am doing a project on her ill see how it turns out

  • pimpin-n-haer-n-lovn-it

    she is awsome, im really just doing a project on the harlem ren. she is just the main choice for the project

  • allandrea davis

    i love billie holiday i am doing her for black history.

  • mabayla

    omg billie is the best
    she floats my boat
    i love the flowers she wears in her hair like everyday
    now i wear flowers everydaycause i want to be like her sooo bad grrr

  • Shelly

    I am 75 and was in High School in the fifties. Lady Day was and is incomparable. The Gardinia in her hair was a VERY popular affectation in those days. Real or cloth everyone wore them. I am a typical W.A.S.P. Everyone was drawn to the heart and soul and realness in her fabulous and awesome voice. Awesome is currently an overused word, but not in her case.

  • Maghee

    I agree with “Leah”, she was one of the greatest blazing the trail in a time of much strive and hard times for herself. I managed to see one of her preformances one year before before the warrant was served on her in her hospital bed, where she later died. A beautiful woman, and a tragic life.

  • marina

    i love billie holiday she is my gurl dame i need some money and a good man who can give me some money like ten dollars for school lunch

  • Billie holiday the 2nd

    I no everything about you billie you inspire me soooooo much i mite just sing in the future!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!bye

  • samantha

    Im doing a school report on her!!! She was beutiful and a amazing singer

  • Ciara s

    wow. theres so much about billie that i didnt know, i mean, i knew she wuz great and everything but this was, sadly, the deepest thing i read abtout her… well the only thing i read about her, besides from my grandma’s reveiws but, i actually feel bad for her. i’d rather sleep in a shared room with my abusive twin brother than be addicted to heroin. at least i can run whenever i want to.

  • Ciara Blackwell

    Omg! billie holiday is awesome. i love her song my man
    ; )



  • Steve Broda

    There were blues and jazz singers before Billie Holiday but after she became well known, I do not know any female jazz/blues singer who didn’t try to sound like her. Billie set a standard in jazz blues singing much like Chopan is to classical piano. She died 50 years too early.

  • karina

    miss billie holiday was one of the great the beyonce ov then….she had beast vocals…i lukk up to her…rip miss holiday

  • Eddie O

    It is sad that she didn’t stay with us longer. I was 8 when she died. Didn’t know much about her until I got into music. Love Jazz and Blues. We miss Jackson, Presley, and other great singers. They died to soon. She beat her drug adiction for a time, but being depressed she fell back in to it. Maybe if she found religion it would have helped to live longer. She ws a great entertainer and enjoyed singing and dancing. I will miss her. Enjoyed the movie Lady sings the Blues>>>

  • Tammie Harris

    I was up late on April 14, 2010 watching “Lady Sings The Blues” starring Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams on the TMC Channel great movie. Billie Holiday was truly a music legend in her lif e and time and I just love her, she could have been one of the greatest jazz singer ever perform, but her life was cut short due to her drug addiction and other demons that was haunting her. Billie Holiday will always be the greatest jazz singer in my heart… She will be truly missed by everyone who loves her… Rest in Peace Billie…

  • empressking

    she is the prettyest thing i ever let eyes on and she had her own sound

  • Rebecca

    I am doing a Civil rights Project where I am required to bring in 3 songs having to do with civil rights. I chose Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” because of its powerful, yet subtle words. Her juxtaposition of the beautiful scenery and the lynching really paints a picture of how brutal racism can be. She is an amazing singer and I admire her work greatly.

  • Phyllis

    I love, love, love me some Billie Holiday! Always have. Always will.

  • Alan

    Billie’s recording of Strange Fruit was banned from the radio as was Louis’s version of Black and Blue.

  • aisha

    It is so sad that drugs are the downfall for so many beautiful and talented women such as Billie Holiday and Etta James. I have been on this journey of reading and learning about the hurt and pain of the women in my history seeing their troubles and struggles. I have learned that no matter what difficulties we as black women face like Billie Holiday and the many more before me we are put here to be strong women and for that they give me hope. I don’t look at Billie Holiday and the others drug addiction as being their downfall but their strength, understanding to the confusion and pain that they have endured so that we can have a better way. God made their destiny the way he needed to show the future strong black women there is hope and you too can do what those before us have such as Billie Holiday did. To me she was a wonderful, strong, talented, beautiful, black women who accepted her pain and struggles as best as she could. Billie Holiday gave me some hope and understanding to the confusion I face in myself today. You gave me the power to love who I am today and that’s being a beautiful and talented black women.

  • tdh

    Yeah I.’m too am watching Lady Sings The Blues, I like the movie and its sad and now as I’m watching it, I remember other movies Diana Ross, billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor starred in like Mahogany, Which Way Is Up(Richard Pryor), they were great with their times too. I command all who gave their best for us to see the world of some great artist of their times. Also it brings in joy, sorrow, and pain of artists of our times who were a great contribute and will be remembered and never forgotten. Often I wish I could reach into God and bring out the hands of times to give long ago artists who died short some hope. But each times sad, it’s people who choose how to live and it’s not of God’s hand. As I live my life, times haven’t changed to much but now the it’s other races that share poverty with us. It’s different in a sense where there are two classes, the rich and poor..racism still evolves, I see it and feel it through different situations. You would have thought after 51 yrs, times would have changed tremendously through hardships. It hasn’t, most is just hidden. Thanks for the biography.

  • bebo

    one great jazz maestro of all time.sad she had to go through all that in such a short stint in this world.and wasnt she beautiful too.Sad that drugs took out such a great from our midst.Ilove Billie Holidays “Strange Fruit”.Rest in Peace Billie….

  • mardricus

    billie holiday was the beoncye of her time.!!!!!!!!!!!!! shes the greatest

  • Savannah

    I lovvvvvvve Billie Holiday. She is the best!

  • Laurel

    Please make The Long Night of Lady Day available on DVD! It’s not available anywhere!

  • jess

    Billie was a star in her own right she rose above the prejudices and childhood and marital turmoils to shine to the world. She even inspired those that discriminated blacks at that time she made them question the potential of coloured people and marked herself as being evidence that coloureds have a heart ..have feelings ..have talents ..they were just as human as the others they were no different. Billie changed the segregated world she lived in and helped the shift in perceptions and we live in freedom because of her contribution she lighted the torch of inspiration to all ! her voice hypnotised all …she was made to be a star and just followed a path to free her heart through music and singing her sorrows and joys to the world. Her inner demons got the best of her and she was finally consumed by addiction which was masked by old scars. Not everyone can be special and she was a true god send she paved the way to freedom and recognition that pain is powerful and so is love and so is a beautiful voice …because Billie’s voice has its own spirit and its so powerful it lives today and she even lives singing in a different century in chanel adverts and on modern media and talent shows …she will never die ! God bless you Billie !

  • susan fort

    been a major fan of billies since was 20… 44 now no words to say how i feel when the very mention of her name comes up! my 86 year old aunt saw her n her prime n chicago! when she tells me the story… well u can imagine the goosebumps. to know there r still people walking this earth that actually experienced lady day n the day n the FLESH!!! wow!!!

  • tia


  • 0mar

    ayee i dpnt noe her but i heard shes a nice person :) lmaooo may her spul rest in peace . uhmm I LOVE YOUH BILLIE HOLIDAY

  • charles

    she is the best singer out of all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • sommers

    she seems like an amzing wonem strong and talented i hope her legend lives on:))<3

  • Patrice

    I am doing a report on Billie Holiday & I find her so inspiring :) I’m also a singer her voice is amazing <3

  • Nurseburr

    I didn’t get a chance to know of Ms. Billie. But as I prepare for my Sunday School lesson on The Turning Point of The Prodigal Son’s Parable(Luke 17:15-19), I wanted to shed some light on the Prodiga’s Story by reviewing the turning point in the movie, “Lady Sings the Blues” . I think it’s a great analogy. …the point where both, Billie and The Prodigal Son has a significant change to occur in their lives. The Prodigal Son realizes the love for his father after not being able to survive on his own and Billie resulting to drugs after experiencing the loss of her mother.

  • makalla


  • Nicole

    I love how almost everyone who commented is doing a report on Billie Holidy.
    I especially love how theres a girl named nicole who thought exactly what I thought when i saw the comments!!!

  • Ciarah

    I did a project on her. her life is so interesting that i can’t wait to see the movie

  • pazyfe

    I am a gospel singer by God’s grace and people may not know that many times the intensity of your song or praise is based on your life. I lived in a dysfunctional home and music was my outlet. I listened to anything and everything. This was my survival and praising is still my survival now! Singing at the secular level and singing a song that does not honor God may at times be beautiful but when you PRAISE with your spirit……………oh how awesome, you are taken away, spiritually and mentally !

  • Joanne

    I’m a senior citzen, who actully knew Lady Day. She was one of a kind. She was a was very talent. I still play her music on a turntable and I know all her friends., Its great to know. we hung out with all of the popular jazz greats.
    She was beautiful,smart and funny.

  • Jacob Partles

    This women is a huge inspire in my life. She has taught me alot about jazz when i sertainly needed it.Id like to bless her heart from the big cotten club above.


    She moves my soul and heart. I have heard her voice as I grew up only a few times off and on, but always noticed it.. Not until now have I been able to put a name to the voice.. am going down and buying some of her music if they are selling it.. can’t wait.. She is so great that I can’t put it into words.. I have even heard a song of hers on a few movies, it is almost like she has been reaching out to me all my life.. am going to go find her..

  • BL

    She was an alcoholic and a junkie. And highly amoral.

    That was Billie Holiday.

  • Lady Day

    Billie was extraordinary singer and big talent. She was singing from the bottom of her heart and that’s why her songs are full of truth and pain. She is my inspiration and the greatest rewand to all jazz fans.

  • kenniki

    You see, she is still misunderstood. She is incredibly complex and dynamic and only a superficial person can point out obvious signs of weakness….But what about the triumphant Billie? Is that too much for you to handle, BL? For instance, how she survived poverty and prostitution and lived to sing about it in the midst of a world that hated her for …well.. for superficial reasons as yours…the color of her skin…Oh, did I mention that Ms. Holiday did not have Prozac, or Xanax at her disposal. In fact, Ms. Holiday overcome these hurdles without modern psychological intervention. Her incredible talent and strength, combined with the fact that we are all writing about her makes her an immortal goddess and the very embodiment of a LEGEND.

  • BC

    BL has low self-esteem and anger issues!

  • Penny

    I just love billie, she has overcome some hard times n hard people. One of the best artists of the 20th century including this century too. I never really became interested in jazz until I heard Billie’s voice, and now it’s part of my collection of eclectic taste in music. She certainly inspires you when sat in peace and listening to her words and sound, while your mind wonders off into a musical and emotional abyss. Thanks for gracing our ears with your voice

  • Ron

    Billie Holiday was/is absolutely the greatest jazz singer of all time. The Diana Ross movie was not accurate in the least. Yes, her hard times were brought to light, but the storyline was way off. No mention of how many times she was married. The Billy Dee Williams character was abusive in real life, not the gentle man they made him out to be. The movie made no mention of the real bands she played in, nor the great musicians like Lester Young, Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Coleman Hawkins, etc. etc. A real biography needs to be made to set the record straight. I highly reccomend getting a copy of the American Masters show about her that aired on public television.

  • sigi eichler

    Billy Holiday did not live to experince the civil rights act but she surely did her bit to contribute to it. We the people have the power to change history and to make it better

  • Peter

    Billie’s voice was really fascinating….
    Her life was her life, whatever Diana Ross (and others) try to make of it.

    If you interested in Billie a good starting point for research (on the web) can be:


    (a non-commercial website)

  • Dr. Ellen S. Turner

    Since, I began my research on Lady Day, (1972), I have grown up with learning how much she contributed to music. I have overlooked those music sleaves that mention her addiction, jail, prostitution, unwed parents and bad men. I am old enough to realize the hardships Lady encountered and wonder how one could have stood the ignorance, the decadence, rape, and the ostracism from the constant haranguing in everyday life that did not affect her enunciation of each lyric and the way she directed the pianist to swing in her style. I still stop in my tracks, when I hear her in Starbucks or on a mall audio play. Lady Day once said, “you have to smile to keep from throwing up.” I, too, find myself feeling and experiencing this in the way the media treats Obama and people of color. I have to go to work and display a mask. It can be worth taking a sip of strong whiskey, while shaking my head and hollering, “why?” If I could sing a song from Lady’s repetoire, it would be “I Cover the Water Front,” or “Nice Work, If You Can Get It!” We need to give those who do not, cannot or will never know how much pain Lady sang through to just be a woman. Regardless of her faults, personality traits or habit, I love her still. I have learned that she was left-handed, loved Chinese duck had a chihuahua that bit my father-in-law and was a great cook. Lady was full of primp, poise and sat like a queen. Not bad for a woman who lived the songs as well as sung them.

  • trevonne frank

    billie rock i am doing a report on her for class and the more i learn about her the better her muisc sound to me

  • Lesley Sarah

    My dad loved Billie Holiday and as a child we were subjected to her tracks being played at full volume whilst we could only have Top of the Pops on low, if at al. This drove me mad BUT I have to thank my day for introducing me to music and a star I have come to love. It is truely wonderful that such a fantastic and creative voice triumphed over adversity. When I listen to her music I feel so absorbed and so many times I find myself having a different slant on what I hear.

    Mt thanks to a truely remarkable woman.

  • miyah johnson

    im also a singer nd i write my songs about the way that i feel @ tymes nd i take my poetry nd do the same so i created dis page on poemhunter.com but im trying to get into a studio so dat i can let pple here my amazing talent nd just let pple kno hw i feel bcause im also so alne n dis wrld nd i go thruogh so much hurt everyday

  • rjmbluesman

    Billie Holiday was the best jazz singer of her time and in my opinion until this day. The Diana Ross movie, Lady Sings The Blues” is a travesty as it is almost all fiction. The only thing that was true from that movie was her addiction to drugs, etc. Hollywood must right this wrong by producing a true story of her life.

  • aaliyah!

    i have her to do for black history month and let me tell u she is AMAZING at first i did not really want to do her but as i am reading about her life i am getting more and more interested in her if u r looking for a woman to do ur report on i recamend you to do BILLIE HOLIDAY!!!!<3

  • Oscar Miles

    Billie Holiday changed the style female singers in her day. There was no one who sang like but just like POPS ARMSTRONG, she was imitated and influenced a new generation of Singers. She is often thought of as a Blues – Jazz singer. She was a crossover singer who sang popular songs of the day but in her way. She had hit after hit after hit… Unfortunately “Lady Sings The Blues” does not give even a close representation of her life. She was world renown and sang with all of the major Bands of the day, except Goodman and Dorsey, I think. Her ability to deliver the torch songs the she sings ring true to life. I Love everything Billie. My Grandmother and mother played her music all the time. The first songs I learned the words to were Loverman and Keeps On Rainin’…. I just wish
    everyone could enjoy the soulful inimitable smooth blues strokes of her vocals.

  • Girly SJS


  • Karley

    Billie Holiday sounded high when she would sing. Her music was very depressing. meaning she must have lived a very depressing life. I am doing a project on her to make a movie on her… Not a very interesting research assignment .

  • Lakesia

    Im doing a report on Billie Holiday. she was wonderful. she overcame alot in her era. yes she was on drugs but she still had a lovely voice and broke barriers some would never would have…

  • nauti

    i am also doing a project on billie holiday! but its a 24 double spread biography with NO words!!! all illustrations, if anyone can help me with any sort of visuals/etc of her life (especially early life) please email me at nauticlstar@aol.com as I’m finding it difficult!!!

  • Polina

    Omg. Me too! I’m in 5th grade , and am supposed to do a reort on her. I LOVE it so far. It was sad of her drug and alcohol use and her problems. I find her insperational ,because I too want to be a singer. ;) Can i get some help with my project? I need to know Alot and i feel not so optimistic by reading about drug problems , was Billie holiday A good student? i knew she dropped out because of feelingsand truancy , but what about education. Email me at rockpolina@gmail. Thanks :)

    ~ By a fan of Billie holiday

  • lacey rose

    this has been quite the experience for me. i never would have thought that she coud have gone through all that she had and still became one of the greatest jazz singers ever

  • Maya

    Wow this helped a lot with my oral report!!

  • Laura

    ha- Billie holiday, never heard of her before…..

  • grandlady09

    Glad to say my daughter -in- law wore BIllies hairpeice on her wedding day

  • Robbie robinson

    To be born black in that period of time, would send anyone to drugs and drink.

    Too many blacks got a bad deal, great musicians without any musical training, no money, I have been in music most of my life, you can teach people to play instruments at musical college, the composers, mainly Jews where gifted no doubt, put this together with raw talent, and you have the magical formula. Passion, you can’t teach passion at college. Them guys where born with it, that makes them unique and legends like ray charles etc, I am embarrassed to see what went on in the 60s in America. I am from Liverpool made a little bit of a livin from music , but love the passion of it. When I was 17 they had a show on tele called the black and white minstrels
    My dad loved it, I asked him why the dancers where painted up to like blacks, why not just get black dancers in.
    He replied maybe they can’t dance like professionals, I think it was more like they didn’t get a chance at auditions
    That’s how that generation where brain washed.

    The bbc banned the Billie holiday record about the lynching , I am white with no o levels or any education, but I could understand the trauma the blacks had to put with at 17. The bbc had a massive chance to bring to light the problems in the 40s after that song but turned a blind eye. I lived on my wits, and managed to survive by working hard, owned over 60 cars through part time music, some the equivalent of 1000000. In today’s money. But I had a choice. And met lots of pop stars in my day. The choice was taken away from the black musicians in the 20s and the 30s right through till the late sixties. We should embrace their genius now, these people inspired the most famous groups in the world now. Duke Ellington refused to come over to table in a white club without his entire black band, so he left with the band , billie holiday was told to use a freight lift in a posh hotel to come and go before performing, because it looked bad in the hotel having black people staying their. She never toured again after that.

    Cheers Robbie Robinson

  • Seni Flores

    I am a huge fan in Billie holiday she has been inspiring, important, and a difference in my life I am moved by her know I write my own songs and found out I am a great talent and great singer I love Billie

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